COVID-19 Guidance for Schools and Districts: Accelerating Student Learning During Summer Learning Programs and Through the Academic Year

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released new guidance on April 12 on summer learning programs and opportunities to provide educational boosts during the subsequent school year.

The guidance was created to help school districts that are planning to hold summer programs make up for unfinished learning due to extended school closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The document, “Accelerating Student Learning During Summer Learning Programs and Through the Academic Year,” discusses how to create effective accelerated summer learning programs, and follow up with support for students throughout the 2021-2022 regular school year via tutoring and intensive academies held during vacation breaks.

The recommendations, which are based on research by the RAND Organization and Wallace Foundation, include: holding a summer program for five to six weeks; small class sizes; and a mix of math, reading and enrichment activities.

Such programs also must address students’ social-emotional and behavioral needs, the guidance says.

Best practices for student support during the school year include high-intensity individualized tutoring three or more times a week, and 25 hours of targeted instruction on a single subject during a week of breaks in class, such as fall and winter break.

Guidance on COVID-19 and assessment may continue to change as the pandemic evolves, and as it does, KDE will issue new documents.